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honey and clover Vol. 6 by Chica Umino (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 29, 2009 by  



“Volume 6 of ‘honey and clover’ is well-rounded in terms of character development.  Chica Umino does a wonderful job weaving through each of the characters emotions, may it be personal or career changing decisions.  This is definitely a volume in which many people can really understand the characters and the thoughts and anguish they are going through in regards to making important adult decisions.  Another excellent volume of ‘honey and clover’.  Highly recommended!”

(C) Image courtesy of Chica Umino.  All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: honey and clover vol. 6

STORY AND ART BY: Chica Umino (羽海野 チカ)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shojo Beat Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

With graduation projects in full swing, Takemoto and Hagu are face-to-face with their future.  Takemoto’s complete lack of job prospects are making a sad situation worse, and Hagu just wants to return to her home in the country to pain.  With pressure mounting from the outside world, what life-altering choices will these two make?

Planning for the future and the fear of getting a job after college is a scary situation that many students go through and now Yuta Takemoto now wonders what job is willing to hire him but with all the stress, sometimes one needs to get some space and reflect and find themselves.

“honey and clover” vol. 6 is about discovery for each of our main characters.  Discovery of Yuta’s future, discovery of Hagu’s goal in life, discovery of Morita’s future, discover of Ayumi’s feeling for Mayama and vice versa.  And even Professor Hanamoto starts to realize that perhaps his dreams are being realized through one of his students.

In the manga series, “honey and clover” revolves around three guys who live in an apartment complex and attend an art school.   By the sixth volume, many of the the students have graduated and are working careers.  With the last remaining two, Takemoto and Hagu now pondering their future as they are about to graduate.

Here is a brief summary of each character of “honey and clover”:

Yuta Takemoto: One of the primary characters, Takemoto is the youngest of the guys and majoring in architectural design.  He is the normal guy of the group and trying to find himself.  He has fallen for Hagu but is not the type to share his emotions or act upon them.  It’s his moment to find a career and is very unsure of what he wants to do.

Shinobu Morita: A carefree, does whatever he wants type of guy.  Very cool but very strange.  A gifted sculptor who has attended the University for years, has not graduated but tends to make money doing freelance work and constantly on the move.    With everyone going through major life changes, it’s starting to have its effect on Morita.

Takumi Mayama: Mayama is the only one among the friends who have graduated and working his career job as a graphic designer.  His love is for his boss named Rika but she doesn’t see him that way, especially since she lost her husband in an accident not too long ago.  Meanwhile, he knows that Ayumi has loved him for a long time but he doesn’t share the same feelings for her.  But yet he gets jealous when his co-worker Nomiya tries to get close to Ayumi.

The two female characters are:

Hagumi: A shy, gifted  sculptor who is graduating and has a lot of pressure to perform.  But now she’s starting to discover that being world renown for her paintings may not be her thing.

Ayumi Yamada: Yamada aka “Iron Man” has graduated from college but still tends to help out at the art college and assist her family’s business.  She is so much in love with Mayama but knows that he doesn’t feel the same.  She now flirts with Mayama’s co-worker Nomiya-san in order to get him jealous.

And two characters that is not part of the main group but important to the storyline:

Professor Hanamoto: Just like one of the guys, Hanamoto is the guardian of Hagumi and more or less like an adviser to the students.  He has observed his students and tries to assist them and point them in the right direction.  But he is reminded by Takemoto that he’s very much like him when he graduated from school.

Rika: A former classmate and a close friend of Professor Hanamoto and is running a graphic design business by herself after the death of her partner and husband.  She has been distant and depressed since the death of her husband and knows that Mayama is trying to help her.

Mayama’s co-workers at Fujiwara Architects also play a role in the series:

Miwako – The boss of Fujiwara Architects and likes to make fun of her employees and make them feel uncomfortable at times.  And very close to her dog.

Nomiya – The suave and calm architect that knows Yamada is trying to get Mayama jealous and goes with it. But at the same time, can’t understand why she’s head over heels in love with Mayama.

Yamazaki – An employee at Fujiwara Architects that has a crush on Miwako but Miwako tends to look at him as an employee she can try to take advantage and make fun of.

Here is what to expect from volume 6 (summaries only, no spoilers):

Chapter 35 – Mayama tries to find out why Yamada cares so much for Mayama despite Mayama not having the same feelings for her.

Chapter 36 – Mayama and Morita stress out when Yamada has not come home and wonder if Nomiya has taken advantage of her.

Chapter 37 – Everyone is going through life and career changes and wondering what their future holds for them.

Chapter 38 – Professor Hanamoto may be able to pull some strings and get Takemoto a job.

Chapter 39 – Takemoto leaves without contacting anyone or leaving a message and tries to find himself.

Chapter 40 – Takemoto tries to survive with what little money he has, while he tries to discover himself.  Morita tries to do the same.

Bonus Chapter – Miwako tries her best to embarrass her employee Yamazaki by buying him the most ridiculous clothes she can find and making him wear it.

Also, included after the final chapter is  “Challenge Club”, a story about Umino’s passion for collecting seashells.  Also, a chapter of “Otaku House Call!” is included as no matter how Umino tries to not look Otaku, somehow Otaku’s zero in on her.  Also, included is a Honey and Clover Study Guide which explains certain Japanese terminology featured in volume 6.

The sixth volume of “honey and clover” definitely captures the angst, the humor, the enjoyment of each character.  In fact, I would have to say that this volume was well-rounded as everyone is featured and is more dramatic in terms of each person now trying to find themselves and sort out their own feelings and emotions of their life and their career.

With this volume, I think that many readers can feel the emotions that these characters feel.  Takemoto’s uneasiness and stress of trying to find a new job after college, Morita seeing everyone making life changing decisions and knowing that he needs to do the same and of course, Mayama and Yamada starting to understand their emotions towards each other and knowing that they need to move forward alone.

Overall, “honey and clover” vol. 6 is another wonderful volume from the popular Chica Umino series.  Despite the craziness of Morita, nearly every character in the manga series are quite real and I can sympathize and understand these characters and what they are going through.

Again, if you have been curious about this manga series, “honey and clover” is just a magnificent series featuring cool character designs but most of all, a well-written storyline about five friends growing up as college students and now entering their lives as young adults and planning for their careers.

“honey and clover” vol. 6 is highly recommended!

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